Tonight is the 40th Anniversary of one of the most fun months that I’ve had in life.
My father and I went on a six game stretch to see the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers in July. The Rangers series preceded the infamous ‘Disco Demolition Night’ (A 16″ Championship softball game in Kennedy Park followed by an exploratory visit to Pepe’s Tacos influenced the choice to not go. It also didn’t help that the Tigers were just not good, and the 1979 White Sox no matter how hard Don Kessinger could play and manage, were really, really bad.)
Comiskey Park in 1979 was a wild place.
You could run amok in the stands. Old guys chomped on cigars with scorecards and debated teams and players. Bell bottomed long-haired guys drank and yelled through bottomed-out beer cups. Every week brought a post-game fireworks show that would blow your ears out. Bill Veeck roamed the catwalks and shook hands which was unheard of an owner to do at that time. Little Leagues would bring their teams, and not just a team, ALL of their teams, into the stands which made for a a lot of chaotic rushes to players nearing stands or foul balls. You had cool Andy Frains who were more than open to let you sit in open seats. (The best seats were ‘foul ball seats’, and you brought your mitt to games.) You could throw baseballs up to Jimmy Piersall and Harry Caray (The real ‘Channel 44 Harry Caray’, not the ‘Bud Man, Cub Fan’ Harry Caray.), and they would throw back signed balls and yell back at taunts. Late inning games would bring fights in the stands with kids and fans throwing discarded beers on them for more action.
People would cringe now, but it was just an awesome place to be for true baseball fans…An awesome time filled with a ton of flavor that is long, long gone.
You can stretch truths and twist the lens of the Disco Demolition Night movement however you want. (The popular look of late is to view through the culture wars.) And there are a lot of valid points with deeper looks.
But the real truth – This was a promotional fiasco. ‘Disco fatigue’ was in, and Steve Dahl was the one guy who kept pounding on the nails. A lot of rock n’ roll fans were brokenhearted and tired by the mainstream disco pablum. Ask any Faces fan what they thought of Rod Stewart’s ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy.’ (It also didn’t help the anger of the fans were fueled by a cheap beer special that night.)
1979 was a wild year with a lot of anger at many institutions with a lot of divisions. For the many fans who say they were afraid to go into Bridgeport during that time. Believe me, there were a lot of fans who didn’t want to park, or much less than venture 400 yards across the expressway into the Taylor Homes for the same reasons.
For all the critics who are putting a deep analytical outlook on things, please note that ‘disco fatigue’ shares the same fatigue and emanated the same feelings when hip-hop ‘sold out.‘ The Beach Boys/Fat Boys ‘Wipe Out’, MC Hammer ‘Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em’, or ‘Ice, Ice Baby’ put a lot of scars on hip-hop culture and fans in the same way. And I’m still appalled when I see Gen-Z or Millennials rushing the dance floor on these colossal bombs.
It sucked to watch, listen, absorb, regurgitate, and watch a culture you live and love be sucked into a complete mainstream swirl of nuclear waste. If you’re were hip-hop fan in ’89-90, you know that ‘sell-out’ feeling that Loop fans were feeling…That is of course assuming you loved “U Can’t Touch This” or were waiting for the next 2 Live Crew album to pair with your C&C Music Factory Cassingle.
Bill Veeck apologized to fans. History recognizes the fiasco that ‘Disco Demolition Night’ was. I need a Loop shirt…And I do love Disco.
Have Fun, But Don’t Blow Anything Up,